Proper cultural practices are a very important part of ensuring the success of an organic lawn. These guidelines, combined with our basic program will help sustain results. Let’s work together to achieve the lawn you want without use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides!
Turf grasses are a wild species. These plants are in an unnatural environment when grown in a finely manicured fashion. This is why mowing is such an important practice that will greatly impact the overall appearance of your lawn.
It’s critical to ensure that mower blades are properly sharpened. A sharp blade will make a clean cut, allowing the plant to heel quickly. Dull mower blades will tear the grass instead of cutting it. This will result in a slower healing process and browning of the lawn. It also weakens the turf, making it more vulnerable to insects and diseases.
The 1/3 Rule:
This is a very simple and important rule to follow. When mowing the grass, it’s important to never remove more than one third of the blade of grass. Cutting shorter will cause browning and root damage, among other problems.
Grass clippings are full of beneficial nutrients. Whenever possible, they should be recycled (mulched) back into the lawn. A healthy soil system will be able to quickly degrade this material, making the nutrients available to the turf and increasing organic material in the soil. Recycling grass clippings does not increase thatch build up.
Removing clippings takes away many nutrients from the soil system, increasing the inputs needed for a healthy lawn. Clippings may be removed occasionally if they are abundant, or clumping up and smothering the turf.
Go ahead, raise the blades up. There are many benefits to mowing the grass at a tall height.
Less Weeds: A thick stand of turf is the best defense against weeds. Crowded space increases competition and knocks out the weeds.
Cool Soils: Taller turf provides more shade on the surface of the soil. This allows the soil to retain more moisture and reduce watering needs. Weed seeds germinate easily in warm, dry soils, so this will help to keep weeds from growing.
Deeper Roots: Root growth is directly related to shoot growth. Allowing your lawn to grow taller will naturally make the roots grow deeper. This will help strengthen the lawn making it less susceptible to pest problems. Likewise, shorter turf means shorter roots and a weaker plant with more problems.
More Chlorophyll: Taller turf has more leaf surface area. This allows the plant to photosynthesis more. As the lawn can make more of its own energy, it will become stronger and need fewer inputs to thrive.
Don’t Scalp: Short, scalped turf is a recipe for disaster. This damages and thins the turf while warming the soil. These conditions invite weed germination and increase drought pressure.
Lawns in Northeast Ohio should be maintained between 3.5-4 inches, with 4 inches being the optimum height for most grasses. Going into winter, as the grass begins to go dormant, the height of the lawn should be gradually reduced to about 3 inches. During the winter, shorter turf is less susceptible to certain diseases caused by constant snow cover. Gradually decreasing the height is also necessary leading up to aeration and over seeding procedures. This will allow more sunlight to reach the soil as new seeds begin to germinate.
Watering may seem like a simple process, but when done improperly it can cause major problems for your lawn. As our program begins to take full effect, the soil will retain more moisture and watering requirements will be reduced. This will increase the drought tolerance of the turf and improve performance.
Water less often: Only once or twice a week. Watering everyday can provide too much moisture, inviting disease and deterring root growth.
Water deeper: About one inch each time, which penetrates 6-8 inches into the soil. This promotes deeper root growth. Shallower watering makes it easier for short roots to find moisture near the surface.
Water early: Watering at night keeps the blades moist longer, which can promote disease problems. Morning watering allows time for the excess moisture to be absorbed.
Deep, infrequent watering provides the turf with just enough water at a soil depth that promotes strong healthy root growth. This results in a lawn that is more resistant to heat, drought and other stressful conditions.